It's August 21. It's warm and dry and the skies are filled with smoke from British Colombia (and some Washington) wildfires, but we had a decent rain at the beginning of last week, and I've been reading reports of lobster mushrooms appearing in Oregon. So I decided to take a few hours off today and do some look-see down in the Gifford Pinchot.
And I did find lobsters -- all of them near streams at the 2,500-foot level southeast of Ashford, WA. I collected about a dozen in a two-hour foray. None were much larger than my fist, all were fairly new and fresh and still pretty well hidden beneath the humus.
No Chanterelles, Hedgehogs, or Boletes in sight yet (they probably need some more rain and cooler weather), but if you like lobsters (which in this area are Russula brevipes shrooms infected with the parasitic Hypomyces lactifluorum fungus. The infection causes the plain white Russula to swell in size, turn bright red, and take on the flavor of the tasty crustacean after which it is named!
Lobsters are often first to appear in the Fall, and are best harvested before they have the chance to start rotting where they sit. The flesh should be firm and white, and smell more like live lobster than dead fish.
We have another spot of rain coming this weekend, so I'm hoping to take another foray next week. I'll keep you posted. As soon as there is a good sampling of mushrooms growing out there, we will schedule a Saturday group session.